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Criminal Advocate, Par Excellence

Howard Godfrey QC

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Widely regarded as one of the UK’s very best criminal appeals barristers, Howard Godfrey QC has an unrivalled track record in overturning convictions and in reducing sentences.

The job of persuading judges in the Court of Appeal is very different from persuading juries, because the Court of Appeal has just 3 very senior judges and no jury, and the style of advocacy has to suit this type of audience.

What Howard works to do is to get the judges to take a strong interest in the case that he’s arguing about, and to appreciate the seriousness of his complaint and the strength of his argument.

While there are many grounds for appeal, the most common are:

- complaints about a judge’s summing up to a jury
- where the verdict of the jury is inconsistent and unreasonable
- errors of law made by the judge or prosecution during the trial
- the discovery of fresh evidence

Appealing a conviction

When Howard persuades the Court of Appeal judges that a criminal conviction is an unsafe one, they will quash that conviction.

Sometimes that’s the end of the matter, but, depending on the circumstances of the case, the Court of Appeal may order a re-trial to be held. This gives a second chance for the accused person to challenge the prosecution evidence, and hopefully be acquitted by the jury.

Appealing a sentence

When Howard conducts an appeal against sentence, he tries to persuade the Court of Appeal judges that the sentence passed by the criminal trial judge was far too severe. He has done this successfully in very many cases over the years, where sentences have been quashed and replaced with something much more lenient. Sometimes the sentence is reduced so much that the client gets to go home immediately after the appeal hearing.

Some Sample cases:

Assault & Battery - Not guilty [DPP v TAYLOR & LITTLE]

The case that changed the law on assault  charges. It requires the prosecution to specify precisely what the allegation is, because in law ‘assault’ and ‘battery’ are technically different things. The Appeal Court rejected the DPP’s appeal. Mr Little was not guilty as charged.

VAT Fraud - 50% Sentence Reduction [ H ]

‘H’ American lady attorney convicted of involvement in £44 million criminal VAT fraud. Successful sentence appeal where Court of Appeal reduced her 8 year sentence by almost 50% resulting in her being released from prison shortly after appeal heard.

Drugs Importation - 45% Sentence Reduction [ T ]

‘T’ Warehouse worker implicated in large heroin and cigarette importations. He had pleaded guilty at his trial to conspiracies. Sentenced by the trial judge to a total of 18 ½ years. Court of Appeal accepted that he did not have a leading role in the planning of the crimes and reduced his sentence to 10 years imprisonment.

Financial Theft - Conviction Quashed [ R ]

‘R’ Company bookkeeper tried and convicted of stealing large sums from his employers by fraudulently altering company payments and diverting them into his own bank accounts. The conviction was appealed because of misdirections of law made by the judge in his summing up to the jury. The appeal was allowed and the conviction quashed.

One of the UK’s Best Appeal Barristers

2014 Chambers UK Directory logo for best appeals barrister Howard Godfrey QC

Leading Individual


assualt & battery
not guilty

vat fraud
50% sentence reduction

drugs importation
45% sentence reduction

financial theft
conviction quashed

sample APPEAL wins

Legal 500 UK logo for best appeals barrister Howard Godfrey QC

Distills and plots
a course through
the most complex of work with ease”

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Howard Godfrey QC

- one of the UK’s -

Best Appeal Barristers